Monday, February 27, 2006

Sales for Hotel Membership (Again!)

I'm not too well today, with bad sorethroat and hot/cold feeling over my body. Something like the symptom of fever, but however, as evil as I sound now, I cannot help but feel so much better receiving an amusing phonecall from a hotel membership sales representative.

His first words were something like "Hello, Mr Java, I'm calling from Park Royal Hotel and I want to introduce you to our membership priviledges. Park Royal Hotel is located at the Heart of KL." Straight away I knew he was practically READING OFF THE TEXT! As aloof as I am to say this, I really believe that no one should sell by reading text. Fine, I understand very new sales people need to have guidance, but I really think they need to just use the keywords, and make the sentences themselves, rather than reading and accidentally reading wrongly and correcting what they read. Anyway, seeing that he's a text-reading guy, and I was not interested in the membership, I swayed the conversation out of his text and see how he does without reading the text. Man, this paragraph sux, my england teruk.

The following is a copy of conversation I had with him as I was able to type out what he's saying, but it just came a bit late in the conversation. Practically, this is after I asked him to explain a bit on the dining priviledge. The italics in bracket is my own comment in my head. If you're bored, you can just skip to the last two bits of conversation which had me laughing my head off.

Salesman: Ok, Mr Java. If you don't mind me asking. Are you married or have a partner?
Me: Married.
Salesman: Oh married. Ok. So just say you and your wife is dining. And the bill is RM200. That's ok right?
Me: No, that's not ok. We normally maintain outside dining up to RM30 only.
Salesman: Up to 30 ringgit?? Okay, at the end of the meal, your total food bill will be reduced to 50%, it will be RM100. That sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Ya, for only RM388. For a 12 months membership. One more is that you can dine out as often as you like next year. So there's no limit how much you can spend. (Wah lan... this guy really encourage people to spend spend spend)
Me: No, it doesn't sound fantastic. I have other financial obligations, of course I won't go spending on dining the whole year.
Salesman: Just say your wife go to buffet dinner and let's say RM50 per person. If you're our club member, you just need to pay RM50. So if you dine 100 times a year, so you'll save RM5000. (Woo hoo... optimism at the max! It's like asking people to buy McD value meal everyday and save up to RM10000 per year!) So, how would you like your name to appear on your membership card, sir? Are you using Visa or Master? (This is the stupid push factor I hate in all salesman)
Me: Look. I only spend at max RM30 for my family, and at RM388 just to enjoy 50% dining is ridiculous.
Salesman: Oh I see, apart from dining benefit, as a member you will also receive 50% reduction or a 5% off promotional rate. Mr Java, don't you that represent excellent benefit? (Suddenly his english perfect again. And I like how he's going. Slowly push additional benefit one by one which is in fact already part of the package.)
Me: I'm already staying in KL. I don't think I need a hotel to stay in KL.
Salesman: We are extremely excited to bring you opportunity to this benefit. (Ha?!) You take leave or valentines, or on birthday can come stay for a romantic night. Or you can give the voucher to other people, and Park Royal is located in heart of KL. So the location is very nice. (Serioucly this guy need to do his sales pitch homework properly. If want me to give voucher to other people, ask other people to buy lah!) Or you can eact with your friend. Mr Java, where do you normally eat with your friend?
Me: Mamak lah.
Salesman: Mamak?! But don't you think dining in restaurant, you know, the status is different.
Me: Ya, but you can't laugh or shout or talk loudly and just be yourself.
Salesman: Ya, but the bill you pay is almost the same, coz' for two people you get 50% discount.

I stopped typing the conversation there coz' trying hard to tahan from laughing. The bill you pay is almost the same eating in hotel and mamak?!? Even at 50% discount?!? Damn, he must really be joking. Or he himself was trying to contain from laughing. As crazy as I have eaten at mamak last time, eating yong tau fu for starters, chicken chop for meal and satay to finish it off, with 2 fruit drinks, that'll bring the bill to about RM18 only. Two people eat is RM36. Hotel starts at RM50 (salesman say), and he forgot to include the service charge 10% and tax 5%, bringing to a total of RM57.50.

Really am tired of facing these new sales people who don't do homework.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Managers Title

This is a half rant and half observation post. The rant first...

This month is a superbly tiring month for me that I don't even have time to update my blog. Basically, I'm okay with my work, just that it sometimes amuses me at what I have to do since there are still no managers around for decision making. I have chaired another 'maintenance' meeting, this time it's even worst. When the meeting commence, I practically said "The purpose for this meeting is to.... bla bla bla, (looking at supplier), basically the things we need are bla bla bla, if you have any questions, these are the maintenance and security staff who will help answer your queries." And that's it! From then on until the meeting end, I just sit and listen coz' I have absolutely no knowledge on whatever they're talking about. Sigh.... even when the Bomba came to inspect the fire safety of the building, I had to get involved. Amusing, but really takes away time from marketing. End of rant.

There is a growing trend, actually, the trend is already in place, that the moment a new staff comes into the company, they're given a "Manager" title, or in some real estate industry, they're given "Senior Real Estate Negotiator". The pay is no different from that of an executive. The reason comes from people we meet who says the following "No, I don't want to waste my time talking to an executive. Can I speak to your boss instead?"

Yes, that's right. It's already a norm in the industry that says, executives cannot make a desicion. They're just a go-between. Might as well talk to someone in power. Power or not, I have met these managers and senior negotiators who still say "I have to get back to you on that." Duh, still NO power of decision making. What's the use of giving a title? It's a con job actually, conning people to really speak to non-decision makers in the end. :D So what's the use of that title?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Human Mind: Controlling The Body

Side note: I will not get a computer by first quarter as I will wait for Dual Core Processor to drop in price. While many people will say it's a waste for Dual Core if I'm not multitasking, I do need the second core purely for chess analysis. I'd probably get the compy in August.

Most of my friends are already very aware of what I'm writing in this post because I've been bringing up this issue once in a while since 1998. The reason for this to be in the post is for me to have it documented, and not just stay on my mind, to wilt away. Come to think of it, I should document questions that I've yet to ask experts, but that's another post.

When I made a blunder while playing chess back in 1998, and saw my Knight swiped away for free, this coldness came over me. The panic, the sheer embarassment over my mistake. Believe it or not, my hands were cold. Our hands are cold when we're sitting alone, afraid of ghosts in the dark. Our hands are warm during anger, and we can even sweat being angry, or stressed!

You see, part of our body's temperature actually changes according to our emotions at that time. What I cannot accept is, why can't we control the temperature changes on our own? Who is Emotion, who is strong enough to control our body's temperature?? Why do fear, embarassment, anger and stress able to affect the body's temperature so greatly, while if you just sit down and say "now... hands, be cold!" and your hands will laugh at you... okay lah, if you hands really laugh at you, you're crazy.

Seriously, I've once in a while try to consciously change my body temperature, but to no avail. Somehow, we just don't know how, unless we ask Emotion for help. Simple, we just need to say, "Mind, please remind me of how I got beaten up by thugs last week that stole my wallet". Then the movie clip starts, then Emotion comes in and say "Grrrr.....", and Emotion adjusts the temperature control on our body. It's amazing. If you use memories, yes, you can change your body temperature, but why can't we do it consciously?? We can move our hands consciously. We can rub our eyes, dig our nose, wink at people, salivate or nose bleed when we see pretty girls (oops, okay, this one we cannot control), we can jump, and do so many things but sigh.... the search for the control of body temperature goes on.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

How many people does it take to.....??

We've heard those jokes people ask about "How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?" that touches races, job skills, etc. Due to the fact that my M&E Manager has left the company, I had to attend a meeting this morning, regarding installation of a satellite dish on our mast-antenna (dunno the engineering term for this) rooftop.

The question is, how many engineers does it take to install a satellite dish?! In my case, 16 people! Wah liao, I've never seen so many people in the meeting room before that some had to stand and listen to the meeting. And there's only one M&E supervisor and myself having to discuss all these technical details to which I have totally zilch knowledge in.

Interestingly, I wondered why it takes 16 people. This is the case.
  1. Three of them are from the radio wave company (the ones who owns the transmission).
  2. Three of them are the suppliers of the satellite dish, to discuss with team No. 5 on the size required and other parts required for the satellite dish transmission.
  3. Three are contractors, who will do the installation of equipments onto the mast-antenna and the control rooms.
  4. Three are electricians who will study how much heat these equipments in the control rooms will generate, and they have to study on how many horse-power airconditioner is needed, and where to tap the needed electricity from our building's power source.
  5. Three are engineers who will study the mast-antenna itself, to check in the loading of the dish, the weight, the diameter, whether the mast can hold during thunderstorm, strong wind, how much clamping is needed, etc.
  6. Another one is the supplier for the equipments for the control room.

My colleague was shaking his head, saying that only one person is needed from each company, or at maximum, two is needed for successful discussion. Right now all 16 are at the rooftop, I think tenants of other buildings will look out their office windows, look at our rooftop above them and think "Hmm.... these people are training to climb Everest". Imagine 18 people (plus 2 M&E staff) standing smiling, holding onto the mast-antenna, instead of a Malaysian flag. :D

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Location vs Hunger

Real estate says "Location, location and location!" or "Location, location and time".... usually to describe that you need to purchase real estate (for investment) in a prime location, and then time will do the necessary in making sure your real estate property goes up.

You buy shop houses in prime location and rent to banks, you're rich. You wanna open a business, you choose a place where there's plenty of people and market, and you open one, such as grocery store, or a laundry, or boutique, or bookstore, or whatever.

Then comes food, which kills that idiom of real estate to the ground. Why do people travel all the way to Melaka for the chicken rice ball when you can find in KL. Why would people travel out of the PLUS highway, just to drop by a Mee Rebus stall in Ipoh?? Why do people go all the way to Pandamaran for chinese seafood?! These locations are at least 50% and below cheaper in per square feet.

And why do I travel all the way from centre of KL, on a busy traffic jammed evening, in the middle of the week, all the way to Klang to have seafood at Medan Muara?!? The answer is, when it comes to food, location is not important. Real estate for restaurant is "taste, taste and distance!" The further it is, the more people will go there. Ask around, people like to TRAVEL to get their food, especially when you first started dating and while you're in college/university.

Gonna go off to get my sotong goreng tepung now at Medan Muara now.....

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who's That Still There??

Taking a short break from career related posts, this is a combination between career related post and the paranormal.

My good friend's wife used to tell him that everyone in her office would leave the office by 7pm, because once the time reaches 7pm, the water from the water dispenser would start dripping slowly. It happens everyday, and scientifically, maybe we can analyse on the cooling effect the environment has as night comes, that causes some kind of reaction bla bla... dunno lah.

Also, our dear Kookycookie once had an interesting encounter whereby she came to the office with a colleague doing her work at her desk and leaving, only to found out later that the colleague was on MC and has never stepped foot in the office that day and no one else saw her. Interesting tale, or just the mind playing tricks.

Personally, like I've mentioned before some months ago, I don't discount the fact that 'things' live in a place where there's scarcity of people. My M&E Manager, two months ago told me that he used to stay back late at night, but have decided to go home early after two encounters. Nothing to see, but just that while he's alone in his office, the door to the reception opens and closes as if someone comes in, but when he calls out, no one answers. This is about 7:30pm to 8:00pm at night. You see, our office is really huge to place only 6 staff (and now it's only 4 staff!). The other time he keeps seeing someone walking past his doorway but he knows there's no one around. I dismiss this as a tired mind.

Last month, I was given the 'chance' to be alone in the office. Haha... too much work to finish up, while others have gone back. The thought of that 'thingy' moving about the office was not on my mind, but by 7:40pm or so, the door to the reception area did open and close. Then the memory came back. What's worse is that my own office is facing the reception table, with my view blocked by the partitions, and the door is just one meter away. Anyway, after three opens and closes of the door, I packed my stuff and left. Don't wanna stay until whatever it is shows itself up.

As you would have known that I'm taking care of a building, we do have floors which have been empty for the past 2 years. There's one floor in particular, whenever I require for the security to open up the floor for potential clients to view, they will go in pairs. Once I asked my receptionist to open the units there, and another colleague heard, he said "You going to open Floor 16?! Come, I follow you." MANY stories about that floor. Security guards on night shifts will always accidentally kicked something when the floor is totally flat and empty. I've been there myself alone, but have yet to experience anything out of the ordinary.

Anyway, these beings, that comes around after office hours, are actually what I would term as "Ghost of Family Love". They encourage you to go home to your family, because family is what's more important, and not career. The image below should also encourage you to go home when everyone else has left as well.

Monday, February 06, 2006

You Deserve It

Warning: This entry may seem to contradict my earlier entries about finance, but seriously, it does not.

During a certain financial crisis I once had three years ago which I had to spend a week using only the coins from my car, I changed my lifestyle somewhat. And reading those ‘tips’ to reduce monthly expenditure, I cut down on drinks during meals, and just have a plain water. Beneficial to health I agree, but also so-called beneficial for my wallet. If I don’t buy an Ice Tea at every lunch, I’ll save RM1.20 each time which translated to RM24.00 per month.

Then there was a time when I had to walk to a certain bank to put in a cheque for one of my tenant. The walking journey was not that far, about 15 minutes of brisk walking. On the way back, while sweating I walked past a convenience store conveniently located at a convenient road. I so much wanted to get a cool 100 Plus. Then I thought, hey, I’m just five minutes away from my office, I can get my free plain water from the pantry. And so I walked on.

Then it got me thinking. A 100 Plus will cost RM1.50, and it’s a small “want” and not a “need”. Still, RM1.50 (or even RM24.00 per month) when you’re earning over RM1000, it’s just a small percentage. Who are we who don’t flinch paying RM30 for petrol driving to and from work, who don’t flinch having to pay RM1.50 toll to and from work, who don’t flinch having to pay the bank a lot of extra money for our cars and house, and especially those who don’t flinch voting through sms for a celebrity who don’t even know your name at RM1.90 per sms, or sms on Channel @15 just to chat?? Anyway, going out of topic here.

Back to topic. Why do we accept paying these amount of money elsewhere, but we are not willing to get a simple RM1.50 worth of drink, or even a burger that costs RM4.00? These are hardly luxury items, yet they satisfy a “want” and they make you happy. There is nothing wrong with getting a chocolate bar at RM8.90, a small percentage of your salary, just to motivate yourself and say “Hey, life’s a wonderful thing!”

Analysis. (You may want to skip this part). As human beings, we are prone to not realize something we don’t hold physically. Simply put, we accept the interests on our credit cards amounting to RM35, but we have problems buying RM35 meal. We accept paying parking that costs RM4.00 – RM8.00, but we think twice to buy a good RM3.95 pen. That is why, when someone loses RM50 due to carelessness, it’s faster to accept the loss, than having to buy RM50 shoes, which after a few wears, they don’t fit right, and you regret buying it.

Again, the ones who should be receiving the most from your salary are yourself and your loved ones, not others. This one I have to agree with Robert Kiyosaki. He mentioned in his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” to spend on yourself first, then on others. That is, keep aside your “needs” and some “wants”, before paying your bills and stuff. I prefer to put it as, you don’t need a budget if you don’t like doing it, but if you want to spend something on yourself, and you see that you can afford it easily (note: easily! Not a PDA Phone with 12 months payment!), then go ahead and buy it, and enjoy it.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna stop writing and get myself a pack of Twisties, coz’ I deserve it, and you deserve something for yourself too today. Before you go home, go get something that’ll make you smile, or better yet, go get something that’ll make your loved ones smile.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Debt Account

Back in 2002, an ex-colleague had some good news to tell me. He said, “This is the final month I’m paying for my car installment of RM400++.” Three months later he said. “You know, though I’ve already finished paying my car installment, by the end of the month I don’t have savings left. What happened to my extra RM400++??” This story is very true to most people.

Some people have problems keeping more than RM300 in their wallet and prefer to keep a maximum of RM50 at all times. Reason being… “If I have money in my wallet, I’ll spend it.” Some people refused to have credit cards coz’ they know they’ll go overboard with it. This is all part of human greed to spend whatever extra money we have, instead of thinking of investing for the future.

Back to the issue on having no savings eventhough we’ve finished paying installments. I too have credit card installments on two items (for 12 months) and one item (for 6 months) which for two of the items my last payment is January 2006. I may or may not have the same problem as my ex-colleague above, and I’m not staying around to find out.

My own personal opinion is to create a debt account. My ex-colleague also have this ‘debt account’. We call it debt account, for the reason that eventhough we’ve finished paying our debts, we will still deduct the same amount of money from our income, but instead of paying debtors, we chuck it into an account we will have difficult access to. I have an account to which the bank is obscure. Not that the bank is lousy, but it’s difficult for me to go to that bank on any normal day. UOB Bank is one of that to me, but I’ve opened an account in another bank.

Open an account. Tell them you don’t need anything else other than the account book and strictly no ATM card! Using whatever bank you’re currently using, especially those that have online transfer thingy, every month, just deduct from your salary online transfer it to that bank. I’ve yet to start, but I will this February.

Anyway, for those who have been looking so forward to being out of debt, fine, just give yourself the RM400 for the month directly after debt settlement. Then, the month after, start putting it into a debt account. In one year (believe me one year moves fast!), you’ll get RM4,800 in the bank. Good to buy something needful like a PDA Phone. :P Kidding! Anyway, if we’re discipline enough, we can use that debt account to start another debt (haha!!) by using it as a downpayment for another car or whatever you think is needful but not a wantful (luxury items). Good luck to you, and to me too. Hey, look at it this way, if you could live while in real debt, you can surely still live in virtual debt. :D